Ninety-year-old playback legend Manna Dey - who belted out evergreen songs like Ae mere pyaare watan and Zindagi kaisi hai paheli - is being honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest honour in Indian cinema, his family said on Wednesday.
"We got a call from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Tuesday to inform us about the award (for 2007). He is right now in New York for some cultural programe. He will return to Bangalore Thursday. We are very happy for him," his family member Anuradha Dey told IANS on phone.
Born as Prabodh Chandra Dey May 1, 1919 to Purna Chandra and Mahamaya Dey, the singer was a name to reckon with in the Hindi film industry from the 1950s to the 1970s. He has recorded more than 3,500 songs over the course of his career.
His all-time hits include Sur na saje kya gaun main, Na to karanwa ki talash hai na to humsafar ki talash hain, Puchho na kaise maine rain bitayee, Laga chunari main daag, Aaja sanam madhur chandani mein hum, Dil ka haal sune dilwala, Ye raat bhigi bhigi, ye masta fijzayen, Jhanak jhanak tori baaje payaliya, Tu pyar ka saagar hai, Chunari sambhal gori udi chali jaye re and Ay meri Zohara.
He also teamed up with Kishore Kumar for hit numbers like Yeh dosti hum nahin torenge (Sholay) and Ek chatur naar (Padosan).
How can one forget Yaari hai imaan mera yaar meri zindagi from the film Zanjeer? He also sang for the Bengali film industry, sometimes teaming up with Hemant Kumar.
He sang a duet Ke prothom kachhe esechi with Lata Mangeshkar for the Bengali movie Sankhyabela.